PIES. Don’t you love them! I’m an absolute sucker for a good pie. I enjoy open-topped tarts and fruity pies in summer, but in winter I go for big hunky chunky meaty pies with rich flavours. Oh yeah! This beef and mushroom pie is chokka with pieces of beef cooked to tenderness in red wine and herbs, and with its flaky cap of golden pastry, it’s a head-turner! But it’s not the sort of thing you can whip up after work. The beef needs to be cooked slowly – so get it into a slow-cooker while you’re at work, or make it in a casserole the day ahead, let it cool, and refrigerate overnight, then make the pie the following day. Nice. Beef & Mushroom Pie
Then, chicken pie … Tender chunks of chicken thigh and vegetables like leeks, carrots and celery cooked gently in wine with bacon and herbs, does it for me every time. Choose a good brand of bacon, because that hint of smoke is magic in the filling. I’m not a fan of the smell of crème frâiche in its natural state, but it is superb in pies, providing creaminess without too much richness, and a nice little lemony tang. Chicken Pies
There are heaps and heaps of tips for making pastry, and tips on how to use ready-made pastry on the Shared Kitchen site, and lots of other information threaded throughout the recipes, so make sure you flick through to them to take advantage of this and build your knowledge and repertoire. Making Pastry
And, as for winter solstice … the shortest day needs the fastest dish to cook! Check outSpeedy Pasta. If you keep olives and capers, good oil and chilli flakes and a box of pasta in your pantry, you’ll be able to put this tasty little number together any night of the week. What’s for dinner at your place tonight? You could have this dish on the table in 20 minutes. Team it up with salad, finish with some seasonal fruit and you’ll most likely come in under budget as well.
If you’ve got heaps of outdoor jobs to do and never enough time to do them and to see your friends, how about inviting your friends around for a working bee ‘with benefits’. Serve up these scrumptious apple buttermilk hotcakes and the work will get done in no time. There’s nothing wrong with sizzled bacon and maple syrup on a Sunday morning. Apple Buttermilk Hotcakes
Finally, if you are contemplating getting a group of friends or colleagues together to take advantage of the special rate for Shared Kitchen cooking classes, running through July, get on to it as dates are filling up. Shared Kitchen Cooking Classes
Have a good one!